Parshat Vayechi 5771: Yaakov, The Sh’vatim and The End of Days — Expanded

by Moshe Burt

Last year, this author heard a vort on Parshat Vayechi at a Thursday night Mishmar which could be understood to amplify on a topic repeated on this blog numerous times over the years — that Jewish unity is prerequisite to bringing about a Halachic, Just State of Israel, the prerequisite to bringing about the Geula Shlaima — the Ultimate Redemption.

On last week’s Parshat Vayigash, this author spoke about Yosef’s treatment of the brothers, i.e. the bogus espionage charges, compelling the delivery of Binyamin to him, about the frame job of having the Viceroy’s cup planted in Binyamin’s possession, and the resultant Teshuvah by Yehuda and the other brothers. And it was noted that the Teshuvah and resultant unity amongst the brothers is seen as a paradigm for what is needed to heal today’s wounds caused by the gradual fractionalization and polarization which peaked with the expulsion of Jews from their land, their homes, their communities, shuls and parnossa (jobs, businesses, etc.) and which continues and grows to this day, including amongst one sector toward the other(s) in the religious word.

As he was completing his shiur on Parshat Vayechi, Rabbi Harry Greenspan said over a vort from some 40 years ago in the name of his Rebbe in Yeshiva University, R’Nissan Alpert z’l. R’ Alpert was a Shul Rav on the Lower East Side and gave shiurim at YU. It is said that he was the top Talmid of R’Moshe Feinstein, z’l.

R’ Greenspan related that while Torah, Rashi and other commentators rendered that Yaakov Aveinu called his sons together to tell them of “The End of Days” and then lost his Ruach HaKodesh, R’ Alpert suggested that one could perhaps say that Yaakov did actually tell his sons when the Geula Shlaima would occur.

Sefer Breish’t Perek 49, posuk 1 reads:

Hei-afsu — “Gather [Hei-afsu is rendered by Shimshon Inbal’s English-Hebrew, Hebrew-English Dictionary published by S. Zack & Co,: collect, gather, aggregate, provide shelter, public meeting] and I will tell you what will happen to you in The End of Days.”

Posuk 2 then reads:

Hi-kavtzu — “Gather [rendered by the same English-Hebrew, Hebrew-English Dictionary as; collect] and listen, sons of Yaakov, and listen to Yisrael, your father.”

The two loshonot of the word “Gather” could therefore be understood to mean come together as one. It’s important to note that the ta’anit of Assera B’Tevet falls out this year on Erev Shabbos of Shabbos Vayechi. There are those who look around at the myriad of crises we currently face — the drought,, the resultant fires in the North, sickness, the poverty faced by many, non-existent law and order administered by a police and internal security ministry concerned only with arresting and prosecuting Jews who love the land — we could go on and on, and bring that Assera B’Tevet falls out this year on Erev Shabbos because Hashem (kav’yokel — as it were) is as angry at us collectively for not bringing change in each of us ourselves as He is about the aveirah (the wrong) that we’ve done.

This author would like to suggest that the crises we face would seem directly attributable to our indifference, insensitivity and disdain for our fellow Jew within religious Jewry, i.e., he’s not like us, he’s not born here, he’s a late-life Ba’al Teshuva, he’s a friar waiting to be suckered — in business, in bureaucratic offices, by merchants toward potential buyers, etc. And each group vies with the other, as exemplified by the Rabbanim of the various sectors who refuse even to sit and talk with each other, for “who’s the most frum” and who will receive the coveted, strings-attached government funding. And he is no good because his party didn’t stand up for religious principles and, therefore, it serves him right if the government messes him/them over or give his/their money to my group instead.

For only when Am Yisrael is united — as one, can the Geula Shlaima occur. Only when there is unity, a consensus of Halacha and Halachic fences, of checks and balances, of oversight, of transparency, of V’Ahavtah L’rei’cha Kamocha — wanting for your brother, for your brethren, what you want for yourself; will we have the courage to move to change Israel’s governance, to prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and, Chas V’Challila, the handing of Jewish land over to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. Only then will B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole (restituted for all that was stolen from the at leftist agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint). Only then will we be empowered to demand, in concrete physical terms, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem Only then will we achieve Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as an Am Segula. Only then will we zocha to see Moshiach, the Geula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings, “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.